Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham reflected on the links between academia and business in the latest issue of the Alliance MBS research magazine.
Greater Manchester’s new Local Industrial Strategy is one of the country’s first modern local industrial strategies, with the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and the UK government as key partners.
The bold and innovative joint plan reconfirms the city region as an industrial and social pioneer. In Greater Manchester we led the first industrial revolution - we are now in a position to lead the fourth.
The strategy is designed to deliver an economy fit for the future, with prosperous communities across the city region and radically increased productivity and earning power.
I want Greater Manchester to break the barriers to advanced manufacturing and digitalisation and the Local Industrial Strategy forms part of the most advanced devolution deal of any city region in England, representing a strong partnership between local leaders and Westminster.
Earlier this summer I was joined by the then Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clarke, the Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership Mike Blackburn, and the Leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese, to launch the strategy at The University of Manchester in its impressive new £10m Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub.
We were also joined by Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice Chancellor of The University of Manchester, who has been an important driving force behind the strategy, reflecting our shared belief that our four universities are crucial partners in driving our ambitions forward.
Greater Manchester’s economy is robust, diverse and growing. With more than 124,000 businesses it is already a great place to live and work, but now we need government to give us the powers and resources to go much further. We must be able to respond to the economic and technological challenges that the future will bring.
Undoubtedly another challenge our city region is certain to face is the climate change emergency. March saw the second annual Green Summit where we agreed a bold ambition for our city region to be carbon neutral by 2038, 12 years ahead of the government’s own target.
I believe that the north can lead the next industrial revolution – the tech revolution. But this will not happen without more local control over skills and training for these new hi-tech businesses.
Earlier this year Greater Manchester Combined Authority and our 10 local authorities issued a major £32m tender request to enable high-speed, full-fibre data connectivity at public sector sites across the city region. As well as revolutionising our online public services, it will also provide a huge boost to Greater Manchester’s economy and productivity, cementing our position as one of the leading digital city regions in Europe.
We’re also setting out how advanced manufacturing, along with the digital and creative sectors, will now help to grow our economy and help us become a wholly digitally-enabled city region.
By investing in the city region’s global research and industrial strengths, we will pioneer new technology and create new exciting jobs in future industries such as health innovation, low carbon technologies and advanced materials.
There has never been a greater need to rebalance the economy outside of London and give the north of England the power and resources to get firing on all cylinders, and we are making substantial progress on a wide variety of fronts. Truly, I believe that Greater Manchester has very exciting times ahead.